Story continues below this advertisement
Heat, we couldn’t exist without it. In the absolute absence of heat our world would be a frozen lifeless place. For our concerns as car enthusiasts, heat is both a boundless gift and an abominable curse. Combustion engines work on a simple principle, potential energy in a chemical form (gasoline, diesel, alcohol, etc.) is transformed into thermal energy by ignition and combustion which is then transformed into mechanical energy by pistons or turbines. Remove heat from this cycle and you might as well learn how to ride a horse.
But uncontrolled heat is destructive; it can damage engines, transmissions, rear ends and more. Automatic transmissions by their nature can generate a goodly amount of heat, and ironically they don’t tolerate that heat too well. The life expectancy of your automatic transmission is reduced in inverse proportion to the temperature increase of the fluid within it.
Late model Mopars NAG1 automatic transmissions are actually pretty robust. With a little upgrading, such as our Project Maulin’ Magnum received from Westminster Performance Transmission, and they can handle 800 horsepower all day long. Whether a NAG1 can handle that power all year long, year after year, has a lot to do with how cool you can keep its fluid.
Since the Maulin’ Magnum is now primarily a drag strip warrior, cool and consistent automatic transmission fluid (ATF) temperatures are critical. We need to keep the temps low for longevity and in a fairly narrow range for consistency. We decided to see what we could do to improve the factory cooling and provide tools to track the ATF temperature.
We Mopar fans are used to being left out. We just finished the 2014 SEMA show and we can’t tell you how many trick parts we see where we ask, “Do you have this for Mopars?” and receive a ‘not yet’ response. But there’s one company that loves us as much as they do blue ovals and bowties, B&M Racing and Performance, Inc. The umbrella company that owns B&M also owns Hurst and Flowmaster. From trick Hurst shifters to B&M SFI flexplates, to Flowmaster exhaust parts, our friends at Driven Performance Brands always invite Mopar owners to the party. In our August, 2012 issue we covered installing a Hurst pistol grip shifter into the Magnum. And in the December, 2012 issue we covered installing a B&M flexplate.